A Meditation on a Child and Birding

Guest post from Dr. Stewart Kirkaldy, Museum Volunteer

Every once in a while one has an experience that is profoundly moving. This happened to me recently on International Migratory Bird Day at the Birds of Vermont Museum where I was working at the viewing window. A young couple came in with three children, the eldest of whom was a serious birder. She was 10 years old or less but had a “life list” of fifty-eight on arrival. Very soon she saw her first Hummingbird to which she responded with incredible vocal enthusiasm, jumping up and down and rushing across the room to give her father the news. (She added two new species to her list that afternoon.) Her interest and enthusiasm was evident all day. She was an inspiration and rejuvenated hope in my heart for the future of humanity.

The realization dawned on me that she is at one end of the spectrum of human activity and, sadly, too many are at the other end as exemplified by Big Oil Company Executives whose actions and indifference led to the recent catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But what she left me with was the hope well expressed in a hymn that ends “… when man’s crude acts deface no more / the handiwork of God.”

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (male), carved by Robert Spear, Jr.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (male), carved by Robert Spear, Jr.
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